Fantasy Grapevine

by Nicholas Minnix and Ryan Dodson on August 24, 2007 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Can you smell it? Week 1 is almost here! Obviously, if you're reading this, fantasy football is high on your priority list. Don't head to your draft without reading any further.

Injuries, holdouts, depth chart changes and more are the name of the game. Situations are changing fast, and that means fantasy rankings are changing just as quickly. What you expected to develop in training camp and the preseason hasn't, and other players should now be on your fantasy radar.

We highly recommend that you pay close attention to KFFL's Hot off the Wire daily news page to stay abreast of everything around the clock in the coming weeks. Some little birdies from around the league have shared their thoughts, too, and that has necessitated a few adjustments as well.

Without further adieu, we bring you this week's installment of KFFL's Fantasy Grapevine.

QUARTERBACKS - MOVING UP

Joey Harrington, Atlanta Falcons
The league has suspended quarterback Michael Vick indefinitely, so Harrington is the no-brainer at starter. This was pretty much obvious, but it's now formally reflected in our projections. He's likely not the long-term answer for the Dirty Birds, but he is the stopgap. He's projected for a full season, although that may not mean much to fantasy owners. View him as no more than a No. 3 passer for your squad.

RUNNING BACKS - MOVING UP

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
No one wants to fall victim to hype, but have you seen this rook run with the football in his hands? He has rushed 19 times for 103 yards and a score this preseason. He sent a message that he's ready to go when he lowered his shoulder on a big 43-yard run in the team's second preseason contest. There's little question that he and running back Chester Taylor will split time, but it might be awfully hard for the Vikes to keep Peterson off the field. Taylor has good hands, so he should be on the field; the team's passing game needs a lot of support, too, so expect Minnesota to run, run, run. Peterson could be doing even more of it than we thought. He's on the upswing; he could be a viable No. 3, with enough upside to be a No. 2 down the road.

Warrick Dunn, Atlanta Falcons
The back injury that Dunn (back) suffered and subsequently had surgery for early in training camp was a huge setback to his fantasy value. As it turns out, that may have allowed owners that drafted at the time to grab a steal. Dunn is expected to play in the team's third preseason game, and barring a setback, he'll be the starter come Week 1. Running back Jerious Norwood, everybody's favorite player when Dunn was hurt, has had trouble in blitz pickup. That means Dunn, the far more experienced back, as a factor in the backfield, and as a great value player in fantasy drafts. You may still be able to nab him as a No. 4, but he has low No. 3 potential.

Jesse Chatman, Miami Dolphins - Enters Rankings
Chatman hasn't officially touched the pigskins in two seasons, yet the Dolphins have given him the ball quite a bit this preseason. Why? It would appear to be a way to keep running back Ronnie Brown fresh, right? Not so fast, because head coach Cam Cameron may not be as confident in Brown as everyone thought. Chatman is very much in the mix in Miami, so much so that he could significantly cut into Brown's playing time. He could carve out a third or more of the touches there. Chatman has at times been the more impressive runner this preseason. He has rushed 14 times for 97 yards and a touchdown in two contests. He also caught five passes for 43 yards in one of them. Cameron is familiar with Chatman from their days with the San Diego Chargers. Don't consider this just lip service for Chatman or a motivational ploy for Brown; fantasy points are at stake, and Chatman is a necessary handcuff for Brown.

Greg Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars - Enters Rankings
Jones is the team's starting fullback, and the Jags, being a power running team, are likely to let him tote the rock a few times. With running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor in the backfield, don't expect Jones to see more than a nominal number of carries. He blew out his knee before the season began last year, but he can likely still be the occasional contributor near the stripe. Jones likely isn't draft consideration, though.

WIDE RECEIVERS - MOVING UP

Eric Moulds, Tennessee Titans
Moulds, as we just discussed, spent last season with the Houston Texans and hauled in just 557 yards worth of passes and one touchdown during his only stint with the team. Now, he enters a Tennessee team desperately looking for some veteran leadership at the wide receiver position. Moulds can be just that player and arriving before training camp will give him the opportunity to crack the starting lineup ahead of David Givens. In a worst-case scenario, he should be at least the team's No. 3 receiver as the team needs to give quarterback Vince Young enough weapons to succeed. Moulds is the most polished and established receiver the team has on roster - now it will come down to him building a rapport with Young and picking up the system. He has limited value due to a young quarterback, his age (34) and a poor Titans' offense in general but, like McCardell, you know what you get out of him as a fifth receiver.

Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos
The Broncos appear ready to usher in a new era, whether they're ready for it or not. Wideout Rod Smith (hip) seems destined to begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Marshall has dealt with his own nagging injuries throughout training camp, but he's the Broncos' No. 2 guy without question. Wide receiver Brandon Stokley is strictly the slot man, and the other wideouts on the roster aren't factors for the starting spot opposite Javon Walker. Marshall is talented but is entering only his second season. He showed great promise last year, but don't overvalue him. He's a low-end No. 4 with upside, but don't reach.

Ernest Wilford, Jacksonville Jaguars - Enters Rankings
After hearing that he could be the No. 1 receiver for the Jags, we heard little about his performance in camp. So little, in fact, that he wasn't going to jump back onto our fantasy radar until we saw a more definitive picture. It's clearer now, and Wilford, along with Dennis Northcutt, is expected to be one of the team's top two receivers. The top positions on the team haven't been a source of great fantasy production for any sustained period of time (say, like, a full season), so expectations for Wilford aren't extremely great. He could perhaps be worth a pick as your No. 6, although there are other players with more upside out there.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers
Jones has done nothing but stand out this preseason. Did you see his latest effort? He caught six balls for 80 yards in preseason Week 3. He has 16 receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns in three games. Favre seemed to look for Jones constantly, especially on third down, in that third game. He's a muscular 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, and his talent has become obvious. Jones has become a hot fantasy commodity in drafts, so he could be overvalued. Wide receiver Donald Driver (foot) suffered a foot injury in that third game, but it isn't considered serious; he should be ready for Week 1. If Driver was expected to miss any time, though, Jones stock was soaring. It still is, but he isn't safe as anything more than a No. 5 receiver with huge upside, which he definitely has in full-retention keeper leagues. He may go earlier than his value suggests, so if you want him, you'll probably have to reach.

Jacoby Jones, Houston Texans

Jones, a third-round pick out of Lane College, has shown flashes in the preseason. The team loves him, and he is making it hard for them to take him off the field. He caught four balls for 47 yards in his first preseason game and had two catches for 32 yards in the second game. He also rushed twice for 24 yards in that second game. After No. 1 receiver Andre Johnson, the team has a logjam between Jones, Kevin Walter and possibly Keenan McCardell (quadriceps), who has yet to play in the preseason due to injury. Jones has a good shot to at some point win the No. 2 receiver position, and he can be taken in later portions of drafts as a No. 5 receiver.

Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles

Our sources close to the team tell us that Avant is the No. 3 wide receiver right now. Avant, the second-year receiver out of Michigan, is having a modest preseason with four catches for 39 yards. However, the No. 3 wide receiver in Philly's West Coast offense is in reality the fifth option or so in the passing game. Avant doesn't have the job locked down, and he probably isn't worth drafting at this time.

Keary Colbert, Carolina Panthers

Colbert appears to be the team's No. 2 wide receiver right now opposite Pro Bowler Steve Smith. Colbert showed flashes as a rookie in 2004 with 47 catches and five touchdowns, but he has been a huge disappointment since. The fourth-year receiver out of Southern California caught just one pass entering the third preseason game, but he made a play against the New England Patriots in the third game. He caught a 48-yard touchdown strike, shifting and maneuvering threw traffic in order to reach paydirt. He nearly had another touchdown but dropped the ball and was flagged for offensive pass interference. Colbert, if he hangs onto the job, is still nothing more than a weak No. 5 fantasy receiver.

Brandon Stokley, Denver Broncos
Stokley is the clear-cut No. 3 receiver for Denver. It isn't a position that has historically yielded much fantasy production, but there was some doubt about how much Stokley could contribute after missing so much time last year and then shredding his Achilles' tendon at the end of the season. Wideout Rod Smith (hip) will likely enter the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which simply means that Stokley shouldn't feel threatened in the slot. He isn't a candidate to move up any further, but he should see a few more passes than KFFL originally projected for. He still isn't worth drafting, so don't consider it more than a cursory upgrade.

Mark Bradley, Chicago Bears - Enters Rankings
Bradley is in the mix in the Bears passing game, and he finally appears to be over the nagging injuries that kept him off the field for 15 of his first 32 NFL contests. As, at best, the No. 3 receiver for Chicago, he isn't likely to have much of a fantasy impact, but he is capable of making the occasional big play. He isn't worth drafting in fantasy leagues, but he could have some value if an injury took down one of the Bears' starters.

Travis Taylor, Oakland Raiders - Enters Rankings
Taylor is expected to make the team and could be the No. 3 receiver. That may not make him sound like an attractive fantasy option - OK, it definitely doesn't - but it nevertheless deserves notice. Oakland's offense, believe it or not, is on the upswing. Head coach Lane Kiffin is determined to simplify things for the offense, having the team rely on short and intermediate routes or check-downs. It certainly isn't enough to make Taylor worth drafting in fantasy leagues, but it is enough to earn him some low-tier fantasy projections. He could have some value in point-per-reception formats if either of the starters, Jerry Porter or Ronald Curry, is injured.

Taylor Jacobs, San Francisco 49ers - Enters Rankings
Jacobs has been one of the Niners' biggest feel-good stories this preseason. He was labeled a bust, and rightfully so, after four lackluster seasons, three of which came with the Washington Redskins. He played in eight games for San Fran last year and caught a mere four balls for 29 yards. This offseason, Jacobs' daughter passed away, and although certainly that was devastating, he said that it caused him to have a new outlook on his career. He said that he has rededicated himself, and he has reportedly had a great camp. He has solidified his hold on the No. 3 position on the depth chart, remaining ahead of free-agent disappointment Ashley Lelie. Jacobs and his wife also recently had another child, so congrats to them. Jacobs joins KFFL's rankings, although he likely isn't worth drafting in fantasy leagues.

Robert Ferguson, Minnesota Vikings - Enters Rankings
The receiver-staved Vikings picked up Ferguson off the free-agent market when the Green Bay Packers cut him loose. Based on his experience alone, he could be a factor in a corps of receivers lacking it. Ferguson has talent, but the oft-injured receiver has yet to produce more than the 38-reception, 520-yard, four-touchdown season he had in 2003. He also has not played a full season since 2002; in fact, the number of games he has been active for has reduced every year since - he was active for just four games last year. Say thanks but no thanks on draft day.

Mike Williams, Oakland Raiders - Enters Rankings
Williams, like Taylor, should make the squad, and he could be the fourth receiver. Head coach Lane Kiffin may view Williams as his personal project because the two worked together at Southern California, where Kiffin previously coached, most recently as the offensive coordinator. As the fourth receiver on an offense that is expected to be fairly conservative, Williams probably won't see many balls, but his expected production has been noted. Don't bother drafting him, but realize that he is back on the fantasy radar.

TIGHT ENDS - MOVING UP

Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders

Our source close to the team says Miller has the best hands on the team. The offense plans to throw a lot of short passes, which benefits the tight end position. Miller, a second-round pick, is a rookie with upside, but he probably isn't worth drafting as anything more than a No. 2 right now.

John Madsen, Oakland Raiders - Enters Rankings

As mentioned, the Raiders plan to use short passes, which benefits the tight end position. Madsen is the No. 2 tight end, will play in two-tight end sets and should see a few passes as a result. He doesn't have any fantasy value right now, though.

Jermaine Wiggins, Jacksonville Jaguars - Enters Rankings

Wiggins is in Jacksonville now, and every season he is underappreciated but catches passes. That offense has been unable to use the tight end no matter hard it tries, though, and it's not certain where Wiggins fits in the pecking order. He isn't worth drafting right now.

Daniel Graham, Denver Broncos

Graham's numbers were too low upon our review. The Broncos didn't decide to pay him $30 million over years just to block. He always proved to be a solid red zone threat with the New England Patriots. That's where Denver likes to use their tight ends. Therefore, we tweaked his projections to his benefit. Graham is a No. 2 wide receiver right now with goal line potential.

PLACE KICKERS - MOVING UP

No changes.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN - MOVING UP

Kelly Gregg, Baltimore Ravens - Enters Rankings
KFFL felt that it was an oversight to not include to include the eight-year veteran defensive tackle. He hasn't been particularly stellar as a fantasy player, but he has recorded at least 56 total tackles in each of the past five seasons. He has only averaged 2.5 sacks during that stretch, though, which shows you the type of impact that he has had for fantasy teams. He's not a stellar option and could probably be picked up on the waiver wire, but he could provide steady tackle numbers when the matchups are right.

LINEBACKERS - MOVING UP

Omar Gaither, Philadelphia Eagles - Enters Rankings
The Eagles somewhat unceremoniously cut linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. The move is probably justified, and Philly is never a team that has qualms with cutting a player they believe is heading for the downside - even if he hasn't yet shown it. Trot, though, clearly did show it. Gaither, 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, and entering his second season, is quicker to the ball than Trotter was, but he's a bit undersized. Nevertheless, the Eagles love the athleticism he brings to that middle spot, and they believe he's a playmaker. In the last month of last season, he compiled 39 total tackles, a sack and a pick while working as a starter. He's a sleeper linebacker with upside, and he could be selected as a No. 3.

Rocky McIntosh, Washington Redskins - Enters Rankings
When Washington parted ways with linebacker Lemar Marshall (Cincinnati Bengals), it opened the door for McIntosh to start on the weak side. The second-year linebacker

Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings - Enters Rankings
Minnesota's second-round pick in 2006 tore his anterior cruciate ligament before they could start playing real games, so there was some concern about how quickly Greenway could bounce back. He has been putting any concern to bed; in his second preseason game, he picked off a pass and returned it 16 yards to the house. He's the starter on the weak side entering the season, and he was a playmaker in college. Fantasy owners shouldn't be overly optimistic; draft him as, perhaps, a No. 4, and hope for the upside to show itself.

Ahmad Brooks, Cincinnati Bengals - Enters Rankings
Brooks, a supplemental draft choice last season, was a monster at the University of Virginia. He failed a drug test at school, though, and felt that it was a better idea to turn pro. The Bengals, of all teams, took a chance on him, and because of injuries, he was forced into action. Now he's being given a chance to start. There's a likelihood that there will be some sort of rotation at the linebacker spots, so Brooks may not be on the field every down. He's not worth a fantasy draft choice, but if he establishes himself as an every-down player, he could be worth a look.

Keith Ellison, Buffalo Bills - Enters Rankings
Ellison is starting on the strong side for Buffalo, so that necessitated his insertion. He had a strong camp early on, but he'll fill a position that does not typically reward fantasy owners. Most strongside linebackers don't rack up points, and Ellison is expected to be no different. He started seven of 14 games and registered 65 total tackles last year, but he spent most of his time on the weak side, typically more of a tackle-heavy position. He's likely not worth a draft choice, but he's on your fantasy radar.

Lemar Marshall, Cincinnati Bengals - Enters Rankings
It was somewhat of a surprise when the Washington Redskins cut Marshall, and it seemed a certainty that he would end up somewhere soon. The Bengals, in need of steady linebacker play, scooped him up. He has averaged 103 total tackles in each of the past two seasons, and he chipped in with a total of 3.5 sacks over that span. Unfortunately, he has no clear-cut spot on the depth chart. We're hearing that he seems likely to at least back up on the strong side and in the middle, but there will probably be some sort of rotation. Marshall isn't worth drafting for now.

Randall Godfrey, Washington Redskins - Enters Rankings
The Redskins signed Godfrey to add depth and experience. He played in 13 games last year as inside linebacker with the San Diego Chargers, recording 57 total tackles and four sacks. Washington will likely only use the veteran for depth, so his expected output is minimal. Don't look to draft this 34-year-old backup.

DEFENSIVE BACKS - MOVING UP

Bernard Pollard, Kansas City Chiefs - Enters Rankings
Pollard is one of two second-year safeties (the other is free safety Jarrad Page) that is expected to start for Kansas City this year. Pollard, a hard hitter from Purdue, played sparingly in 10 games last season. He recorded only 10 tackles. The Chiefs love the fierceness he brings in the secondary, though. He has some upside as a low-end No. 2 or high-end No. 3 defensive back.

Dawan Landry, Baltimore Ravens - Enters Rankings
Landry had a surprise season for the Ravens last year. The 2006 fifth-round pick impressed in training camp, and he took over the starting strong safety spot three games into the season. Landry, the older brother of Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry, registered 69 total tackles, three sacks and five picks last season. In 2007, Baltimore expects him to have an even bigger impact. Fantasy owners could as well, but interceptions are a tough statistic to predict, especially for strong safeties. Landry isn't outstanding in run support, so don't look to draft him as anything more than a No. 4 with upside.

Roderick Hood, Arizona Cardinals
Hood spent the past three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, mostly as a reserve corner. Arizona jumped at the chance to sign him, and he appears to have wrestled the starting cornerback job opposite Eric Green from Antrel Rolle. That doesn't make him worth a draft choice, though. Corners aren't locks to contribute fantasy points. Hood has never recorded more than 42 total tackles in a year, and he's not guaranteed to start for the entire season. As such, he doesn't warrant fantasy consideration.

Roman Harper, New Orleans Saints - Enters Rankings
Harper is expected to split time at the free safety spot entering this season. He ripped up his knee last October, after he started five games as a rookie. He recorded 26 total tackles and a sack in those contests. Now he has to prove that he is fully recovered and can make an impact in what was a porous secondary. Part-time defensive backs have virtually no fantasy value, so don't look his way until that changes.

QUARTERBACKS - MOVING DOWN

Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons - Removed From Rankings
In case you haven't heard, the league suspended Vick indefinitely without pay. The Falcons endorsed that ruling, and commissioner Roger Goodell gave the club permission to go after Vick's contract. It's safe to say that Vick won't set foot on an NFL field this season - at least not in uniform, and not while security is still on the premises. It will be a long time before Vick ever has fantasy value again, if he ever does.

RUNNING BACKS - MOVING DOWN

Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins
If you're drafting Brown as your No. 2 fantasy back, you probably need to re-evaluate your draft board. Is head coach Cam Cameron convinced that Brown can be the featured back in this run-heavy offense? Running back Jesse Chatman has been getting a lot of playing time this preseason, and we hear that it's not just a mirage. Chatman could steal significant time from Brown, eliminating one of the main pros for Brown's fantasy value. Brown isn't safe as more than a No. 3 fantasy selection at this point, and he's likely being overvalued.

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Running back DeShaun Foster has been running as the starter throughout training camp and the preseason. It doesn't appear that Williams (ankle) is necessarily the heir apparent there after all, at least that soon. He has been banged up a bit this preseason, and he hasn't made a big impression. Meanwhile, Foster, who's typically drafted a full two rounds or more later, has looked awfully impressive in the Panthers' new zone-blocking scheme. He carries a large injury-prone warning label, but Williams isn't causing fantasy owners to instill much confidence in him either. He missed three games with an ankle injury last year, too. Initially, Foster could see as much as 70 percent of the touches. You shouldn't feel safe drafting Williams as anything more than a No. 4, and that's risky. Your best bet is to try to nab both backs.

Jerious Norwood, Atlanta Falcons
Running back Warrick Dunn (back) has made a speedy recovery from back surgery, and he's expected to play in the team's third preseason game. Norwood was a hot commodity in many drafts after Dunn's injury, but that excitement appears to be unwarranted. The second-year back has had trouble on blocking assignments, and Dunn is no such liability. Dunn is already in the mix in the backfield, and his experience should keep him there in a timeshare situation that many expected would favor Norwood. Not so fast, at least not yet. Norwood is a good handcuff to Dunn, but he's probably being overvalued and drafted well ahead of Dunn. Norwood isn't safe as more than a No. 4 back at this point, although he still has enough upside to eventually be a No. 3.

Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions
It appears all but certain that Jones (foot) is headed to the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin the season. He has been able to do some running, but he hasn't been able to participate in practice. Any hope that he'll be ready to begin the season is only fueled by his own optimism. The Lions feel they don't need to rush him, either; running back Tatum Bell has made a strong impression since joining the Lions. When (or if) Jones is able to return, a split situation could arise, but in the meantime, Jones is sliding. He's really not worth taking as more than a flier as a No. 5 fantasy back with potential to be a No. 4.

Vernand Morency, Green Bay Packers
Morency (knee) hasn't been near a return from the knee strain suffered in early August. Meanwhile, the Packers' second-round pick, running back Brandon Jackson, has shown flashes of brilliance as both a runner and a passer. He has also appeared slow to pick up the hole at times and prone to the occasional mistake. Jackson, as most fantasy owners had already noticed, though, has more upside than Morency. The margin between the two is growing. Morency isn't a safe choice as anything more than a No. 5 back at this point; if you're fortunate, you can pair the two.

Mike Bell, Denver Broncos
Bell (shoulder) has been a popular choice near the end of fantasy drafts because he's running back with a horsey on his helmet. Fantasy owners should take note that he's not guaranteed the No. 2 job behind starter Travis Henry. Bell is out two weeks with a sprained shoulder suffered at the beginning of the week. In the meantime, Denver has been getting a look at running back Cecil Sapp and even running back Selvin Young. Sapp appears to be have the edge for backup duties at this point. Bell isn't worth drafting as anything more than a No. 6 with some upside.

WIDE RECEIVERS - MOVING DOWN

Terry Glenn, Dallas Cowboys

Glenn (knee) had a minor arthroscopic procedure on his knee early in camp, and he was supposed to be fine. However, more time has passed, and there has been no Glenn sighting. Glenn is 33 years old and has fourth-year receiver Patrick Crayton waiting in line to nab his starting spot. Crayton has caught five passes for 71 yards in two preseason games, and the pressure is on Glenn. Remember, Glenn was a favorite player of former head coach Bill Parcells. New head coach Wade Phillips could give Crayton a chance. Glenn makes a weak No. 2 or high No. 3 fantasy receiver with risk.

Jerry Porter, Oakland Raiders
Porter should enjoy the fresh start he has in Oakland, with a new regime in place. This club's offense is expected to have a conservative approach, in the form of some dinking and dunking. Porter was just coming out a bit too high for KFFL's taste, so he has been tweaked down a tad. He and wideout Ronald Curry are possibly going to be interchangeable as far as their fantasy production, so that's now reflected. Porter shouldn't be viewed as more than a No. 4 fantasy receiver entering the season.

Derrick Mason, Baltimore Ravens
Many hoped that the 33-year-old veteran would rekindle the flame he had with quarterback Steve McNair last year, but it never happened. It's hard to accept the fact that Mason is done, but he is on the decline. He only found the end zone twice last year, and the team had other options when they get near the goal line. They would be, in particular, tight end Todd Heap and running back Willis McGahee. Wide receiver Mark Clayton began to emerge last year, and wideout Demetrius Williams, entering his second season, has a high ceiling. Mason shouldn't be viewed as more than a fantasy No. 4 this season, and that's pushing it.

Brandon Jones, Tennessee Titans

Our sources tell us that Jones is struggling with his confidence, and he is now battling to be the No. 2 receiver instead of the No. 1. Wideout Eric Moulds is the No. 1 while Jones battles Roydell Williams for the other starting spot. Jones should still be the No. 2 receiver in the end, and he is a potential breakout candidate among the third-year receivers. However, he makes a very weak No. 4 fantasy receiver right now and best serves as a No. 5.

Joe Jurevicius, Cleveland Browns
After some more evaluation of the Browns offense, it became apparent that KFFL's projections for Jurevicius were entirely too optimistic. He hasn't exactly been a picture of health during his career; he has played a full slate of games only twice in nine years. His career high of 55 catches and 694 yards came with the Seattle Seahawks two seasons ago, and this ain't the Seahawks offense. With clear questions at quarterback and murky answers to them, it's hard to be optimistic about Jurevicius' possible production. He's a starter, yes, but likely not for any fantasy team. He usually doesn't get drafted, and that's deserved.

Dwayne Jarrett, Carolina Panthers

Entering the preseason, it was believed the 6-foot-4 Jarrett was the prototypical possession receiver to line up opposite Steve Smith. However, he's a rookie wideout still feeling his way. Keary Colbert appears to be the No. 2 right now, and Jarrett has struggled this preseason. The team will probably line up Drew Carter in the slot, which means Jarrett is no more than the team's No. 4. He is expected to be eventually step in as the No. 2, but when is anyone's guess. He isn't worth drafting at this juncture.

Hank Baskett, Philadelphia Eagles

Our sources close to the team tell us that right now Jason Avant is the No. 3 wide receiver, which means Baskett is the No. 4 at best. Baskett had a good game in Week 2 of the preseason when he caught three passes for 52 yards. If Avant wins the No. 3 job, Baskett's minimal value is rendered useless. Baskett is nothing more than a last-round flier at this point as a weak No. 5, and he's not even that if the word becomes official.

Nate Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
KFFL revisited Washington's projections and, frankly, just determined that too much was expected from him. The Steelers plan to air it out more, but Washington has had some trouble with drops, and he's not expected to be anymore than the No. 4 there. He could swap spots with Cedrick Wilson as the No. 3 receiver, but fantasy owners wouldn't want to count on that. They likely weren't counting on him anyway, but this is just more reason to avoid him in deeper leagues.

Rod Smith, Denver Broncos
Smith (hip) seems all but certain to begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He showed serious decline in performance last year; he caught 52 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns for his worst season since 1996, his second in the league. Wideout Brandon Marshall appears to be the future No. 2 for the team, and the future seems to be now. Don't draft in any fantasy format.

Doug Gabriel, Oakland Raiders
Gabriel is on the proverbial bubble to make the team, and that makes his fantasy worth next to nil. As such, his fantasy projections have been tweaked. With no real shot at making an impact, Gabriel should never be a consideration in your draft.

TIGHT ENDS - MOVING DOWN

Bubba Franks, Green Bay Packers

After reviewing Franks' numbers, we felt our outlook on him was a bit optimistic. He hasn't been much of a pass receiver in recent seasons, and the team appears to have a number of other receiving options now. Therefore, we reduced his projections for the upcoming season. He's not worth drafting.

PLACE KICKERS - MOVING DOWN

No changes.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN - MOVING DOWN

Michael Strahan, New York Giants
Is Strahan holding out as a ploy to not have to show up until the regular season kicks off, or is he really considering retirement? Either way, the longer this draws out, the more his numbers are decreased. There were media reports that he will join the team before the beginning of the season, but co-owner John Mara believes Strahan will retire. Right now, Strahan is a risky player to select as your No. 3 defensive lineman.

LINEBACKERS - MOVING DOWN

Jeremiah Trotter, Free Agent - Removed From Rankings
The Philadelphia Eagles decided to part ways with the veteran, who just doesn't have the range needed to plug the run gaps anymore. It showed; last year the Eagles allowed an atrocious 136.4 rushing yards per game (26th in the NFL). Philly expects second-year man Omar Gaither to step into the middle. Trotter shouldn't be drafted in fantasy leagues; even if he latches on with another team, which he should, it will likely be as a part-timer.

DEFENSIVE BACKS - MOVING DOWN

Greg Wesley, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are going with two second-year players at the safety positions, which leaves the 29-year-old Wesley up the creek. He has averaged 92 total tackles in his past three full seasons while recording a total of six sacks and 16 interceptions in the past four years. Kansas City has received some interest for him, but he might be going nowhere. As a backup, that's where his fantasy value is going, too.

Antrel Rolle, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona has demoted Rolle from the starting corner spot opposite Eric Green. Depending on who you ask, the move is temporary or permanent. Rolle will likely have a shot to regain the job at some point this season, but he has been a huge disappointment since the Cards drafted him with the eighth overall selection in 2005. If he's not a starter in an IDP league, he's definitely not for you.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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